Three First Nations have joined the growing support for liquefied natural gas development in B.C. through natural gas pipeline benefits agreements signed with the Province.
Gitxaala First Nation, Kitselas First Nation, and Yekooche First Nation have signed agreements to share benefits from LNG development. The proposed pipeline projects covered under the agreements vary among the First Nations and include TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink and Prince Rupert Gas Transmission, and Spectra’s Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission pipeline projects, the Province informed in a statement.
Pipeline benefits agreements with First Nations are part of the B.C. government’s plan to partner with First Nations on LNG opportunities, which also includes developing skills training and environmental stewardship projects, according to the statement.
The three First Nations will receive initial, one-time payments upon the effective date of the agreements, and construction-related payments – 50% when construction of a pipeline project begins, and the other half once the pipeline project is in operation.
The terms of the agreements and initial, one-time benefit payments will be triggered once the First Nations signal to the Province they want the agreements to come into effect. Some First Nations have chosen to make their agreements effective upon signing with the Province while others have chosen to wait until they have also signed impact benefit agreements with the companies.
In addition to payments made on construction-related milestones, the three First Nations will receive a share of $10 million a year in ongoing benefits per pipeline project that affects their traditional territory. Those ongoing benefits will be available to First Nations along the natural gas pipeline project routes. The B.C. government anticipates signing similar agreements with other First Nations in the near future.
The pipeline benefits agreements with Gitxaala and Kitselas First Nations are the first two agreements announced for the proposed WCGT project.
Provincial benefit-sharing on these pipeline projects offers First Nations resources to partner in economic development, complements industry impact benefit agreements that provide jobs and business opportunities, and is a powerful way for government and First Nations to work together to help grow the LNG industry, the statement added.
Press Release; Image: gov.bc.ca